Judge Drops Ruby Ridge Case

ByABC News
June 29, 2001, 6:45 PM

B O I S E, Idaho, June 29 -- A U.S. District judge has dismissed chargesagainst an FBI sharpshooter in the 1992 Ruby Ridge shooting of thewife of white separatist Randy Weaver.

Judge Edward Lodge, in an order dated Tuesday, dismissed thestate manslaughter indictment of Lon Horiuchi at the request ofBoundary County Prosecutor Brett Benson, who said it was unlikelythe country could prove the charge given the amount of time thathas passed since the shooting.

Benson announced he would drop the case on June 14, a movecriticized by his predecessor, Denise Woodbury, who brought thecharge against Horiuchi.

A sharply divided 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had earlierrejected federal claims that Horiuchi was automatically immune fromprosecution because he was acting in his official capacity when hekilled Vicki Weaver.

The majority said Horiuchi could be tried if he was found tohave acted illegally in his official capacity.

Government Admits No Wrongdoing

Mrs. Weaver died on the second day of the 11-day siege thatbegan in a shootout that left the Weavers' teenage son and adeputy U.S. marshal dead.

The siege ended without further bloodshed. Weaver and familyfriend, Kevin Harris, were both acquitted the next year of murderand all other charges filed against them in connection with theconfrontation.

The Justice Department last summer settled the last civil suitstemming from the standoff. The government admitted no wrongdoingbut paid Harris $380,000 to drop his $10 million civil damage suit.

In 1995, the government paid Weaver and his three survivingchildren $3.1 million for the killings of his wife and son.